The desktop 3D printer market saw its first ever year-on-year decline in Q1 this year, with analyst Context expressing particular concern over the state of the sub-$2,500 category.
Shipments of personal and desktop printers were down three per cent in the quarter, compared with the same period last year, while the professional and industrial printer segment saw shipment growth of 14 per cent.
Context highlighted the performance of personal 3D printers, which are priced below $2,500, as being a worry for the market.
"The Personal class of 3D printers, in which shipments were mostly flat year on year, is a bit more of a concern for the industry," the analyst said.
"Sub-$2,500 (£1,925) printers have seen great growth in recent years and sell well in education, hobbyist and even professional markets - unfettered growth in the sales of these low-priced printers has continued in spite of the lack of a true "consumer" market base."
Context said that "3D-printing stalwarts" have largely ignored the professional-class market segment over recent years - in favour of cheaper, personal devices - but expects this to change after a slight recovery in the higher end of the market last year.
Chris Connery, VP of global analysis at Context, said: "This near-term downturn is expected to be an anomaly rather than a trend. Vendors such as 3D Systems are again focusing on this class of printer.
"Additionally, more and more end markets are seeing this as a separate category."
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